Toto Wolff has dismissed any notion of George Russell losing form, suggesting he was trying to convince the driver that it was all a “myth.”
While Russell impressed everyone to beat Lewis Hamilton in his debut Mercedes season, he has found life a little more hard going in 2023.
He admitted himself he does not feel entirely comfortable in the car and while a P3 quali spot in Zandvoort helped to boost his mood, the late retirement the next day would not have done.
Toto Wolff describes George Russell loss of form as a ‘myth’
While Russell appears to subscribe to the idea of him experiencing a poor run of form, one man who does not believe that is his boss, Wolff.
The Mercedes CEO and team principal said that it is only because Russell is a racing driver that the idea of him having a bad day was so overanalysed.
“I’ve never bought into this thought,” he told media including PlanetF1.com when asked about Russell’s supposed dip. “When you and I are having a bad day nobody knows but if a driver has a bad day and he’s probably a tenth off, that makes all the difference in the qualifying.
“So all drivers have days that are not so good and we’ve seen these ups and downs with George but the quality of driver I’ve never doubted a minute. [In qualifying] he was able to shine, put the car on P3, had a problem-free qualifying and no traffic so I haven’t seen any pattern change.”
But Russell crucially appears to believe it and Wolff admitted his job is to “bang it into his head” and make him stop thinking like that.
“I’m trying to really bang it into his head that he hasn’t lost his form, that it is just the myth that he’s making up,” Wolff said.
“You don’t unlearn to drive and you don’t lose your form. You can have ups and downs like all of us have but every single weekend when things have gone against him, it was pretty clear why that was and it wasn’t the driving.”